What to do if you smell gas in the house
Using gas as an energy source combined with electricity in a dual-fuel energy package is convenient and can help to lower your utility bill. Gas is a reliable, and cost-efficient energy source, although it has been known to cause issues such as leaks, fires or even in extreme cases explosions which gave it a “bad reputation” in the general public.
Gas issues, however rare, can sometimes happen and these issues should be acted upon immediately, which is why we’ve decided to put together a simple gas safety guide.
Safety is imperative, and by following this simple guide, you can be prepared and know how to prevent any gas issues from arising. This is not only an “emergency exit” strategy, but also a guide on how to prevent a worst-case scenario.
How to know there’s a gas leak?
A gas leak is a common fear for any person using gas as an energy source. However, it’s good to know that gas leaks can be easily handled in most cases if the correct steps are taken.
There is one simple way of knowing there’s a gas leak, and it’s just simply using your nose. The smell of natural gas is foul and is often associated with rotten eggs or sulphur. This is essentially a smell of mercaptan, a substance that is added to gas so leaks can be detected in a quick and efficient manner. A fact not as commonly known is that natural gas in its original form is odourless.
Gas emergency procedure
If you do smell gas in the house, you should act on it immediately as this is not something to be taken lightly. The first step is to call the freephone 24-hour emergency number on 1850 20 50 50. If you cannot get through to the emergency number then call 112 or 999. When calling the emergency line, call from an area away from the leak or better still use a neighbour’s phone.
Turn off gas appliances and make sure they have been left unlit to prevent fires from occurring. Natural gas is highly flammable, as is its by-product carbon monoxide therefore preventing a fire should be an imperative.
Open your windows and doors immediately and ventilate the area. Do not smoke and do not light any open flames in the close vicinity such as candles, BBQs etc.
One tip that may be counterintuitive is not to unplug (or plug in) any electrical devices. This is mainly to prevent small sparks (mostly if the plugs are faulty) which can light the highly flammable gas.
Turn off the gas at the meter by turning the valve (by the meter box) to the “off” position. This should only be done if you can safely do so and if the smell persists for a long period of time.
When you contact the emergency number, try to give clear information about:
- Customer name, address and contact number
- Where the smell of gas is most noticeable
- When the smell first noticed
- If the gas has been turned off
- Is there a smell of gas outside or just inside?
- How to access the premises
Gas safety tips
We’ve learned what to do in case of a leak, now let’s examine how to prevent gas leaks and other issues in the first place. The key safety factor is to never use a gas-powered appliance that you think may be faulty. Gas appliances that were installed incorrectly, poorly serviced or maintained and used incorrectly are a leading contributor to gas issues in the home. When it comes to servicing your gas appliances it should be carried out at least once a year and only by a registered gas engineer.
Get to know your gas meter, and be aware of its position, as well as where the main valve is situated. All air vents and outside flues should allow air to flow freely and never be blocked.
Finally, it’s a great idea to fit a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of natural gas and burns yellow (which is almost the only way to detect it without a proper detector) unlike its counterpart which burns blue. This poisonous gas can be fatal. It’s notoriously hard to detect, as it is colourless, odourless and tasteless, which makes it even more dangerous. Faulty gas appliances may produce carbon monoxide.
You can find even more gas safety tips on a specialised page on our website.
Overall, with gas safety using common sense is the best approach of all. Our key gas safety tips are:
- Service gas appliances regularly to ensure they are not faulty
- Be familiar with the position of the gas meter and the valve
- Keep air vents open
- Get a carbon monoxide detector
If you follow these steps, you greatly decrease the risk of any gas related issues and, in the event that an issue occurs, you know how to react and handle the situation quickly to avoid any further issues.
Top Tip: Have the emergency line number at hand, in an easy to find, visible place.
Prepay gas support
With gas it’s all about safety, and we’re completely aware of that. This is why our gas support aims to help with all the issues and various scenarios involving gas. Apart from the support, you have full control of your gas usage at all times with our smart app. Top up anytime, from any place and pay as you use.
Using gas as an energy source will most certainly lower your energy bill, and if you handle gas responsibly by implementing the safety measures listed above, your home should be safe and free from any gas issues.